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September- World Suicide Prevention Month

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She had heard it ring a few times already but she thought she was dreaming. As the phone stopped buzzing she reached for it to look at the time. It was 4:25 am. Who could be calling at this ungodly hour? She tapped the green button on her iPhone that indicated she had six missed calls. It was Aunty Rose, her mother’s sister.

Anita dialled Aunty Rose’s number and put the phone on speaker as she smoothed her shea and cocoa butter cream over her skin, getting ready for work. She was running late.

“I don’t know how to tell you this Pumpkin.” Anita could tell Rose was amid tears.

“Pumpkin …….Jacob……dead………………suicide”

These are the only words she heard from the whole conversation she had with her Antie. Her whole being was broken that fateful morning. Jacob was her elder brother. He was successful, intelligent, obedient, the perfect example of good upbringing.

Over the years mental awareness programs have been working towards reducing suicide rates. While their efforts have not been in vain, there’s still a lump some of work that needs to be done.

What exactly pushes someone into ending their own life?

Suicide risk takes into account many factors and needs to be continuously monitored by a mental health professional. Remember that many factors combine to lead to a suicidal crisis and may include some of these,

1. A mental illness depression being the most common one.

2. Stressful life events.

3. Physical illness.

4. Sexual abuse for example rape.

5. Drug abuse.

6. Traumatic events

7. Family history of suicides.

People who attempt or commit suicide often exhibit a number of warning signs, either through what they say or by what they do.

The more warning signs a person exhibits, the higher the risk of committing suicide.

Some of the warning signs include;

1. Extreme sadness or hopelessness

2. Goofing off school

3. Social withdrawal.

4. Irritable behaviour.

5. Substance abuse.

How can you know if a friend is suicidal?

Start by asking your friend if he or she is thinking about suicide. Be sure to ask them in clear, straight-forward language like;

“I’m worried about you. Have you been having thoughts about wanting to die or killing yourself?”

People who attempt or commit suicide often exhibit a number of warning signs, either through what they say or by what they do.

The more warning signs a teenager exhibits, the higher the risk of completing suicide. If you think your child might be at risk for suicide, you should have him/her evaluated by a professional. You could call your primary care physician, your child’s therapist or psychiatrist, your local mobile crisis team, or visit the closest emergency department.

The only organization in Kenya whose primary function is to advocate against suicide is called Befrienders Kenya.

Volunteers run the firm and ensure free emotional support is given to those in need of the same.

Incase you know someone who might need their services contact them via their email befrienderskenya@gmail.com

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